Yerovam was conducting the inaugural sacrificial service of the altar he commissioned when the man of God from Yehuda arrived. He interrupted proceedings and directed his prophecy to the altar proclaiming it would be destroyed in the future by a man born to the House of David named Yoshiahu. Then, after paralyzing and releasing the right hand of crazed Yerovam he returned along a different path. On his way he was intercepted by an old prophet who had not been part of Yerovams entourage. He challenged and succeeded to convince the man of God from Yehuda to break the oath he took when accepting the mission to deliver God’s prophecy. On his return, the man of God was mauled by a lion who sat by the side of the road with a donkey. The old prophet sent his son to recover the body and instructed it be buried in his tomb, which he proclaimed he would share with the man of God.
Some three hundred years later (2 Kings 22:1) King Yoshiahu rid Israel of idolatrous objects and realized the man of God’s prophecy by destroying the altar in BeitEl. Seems simple at first, but the detailed time and place descriptions that span Kings one and two are separated by 300 years and the places these verses speak of span the territory of Yehuda and Yosef (Ephraim) which were separated by the territory of Binyamin in between.
It’s important the reader pause to consider a critical learning about the altar of akeida, the place Abraham bound and offered his son Isaac, of which Rambam, the famous Maimonides states: “The altar is [to be constructed] in a very precise location, which may never be changed, as it is said (I Chronicles 22:1 [by David]): "This is the altar for the burnt-offerings of Israel." David’s conclusion or Rambam’s insistence that a “universally” accepted tradition that the temple of Solomon and the City of David once stood on Mount Moriah is not conclusive for the stringency akeida imposes on the actual location of the third temple’s altar.
The prefix ‘Ha’ of the word ‘Ha’Makom (הַמָּק֔וֹם) limits “The Place”, generally ‘The’ special place of God’s resting presence. The word is never used to describe Yerovams BeitEl in Shomron. However, it is extensively used to describe locations associated with Abraham, Isaac and Jacob especially at Mount Moriah. It is therefore a universally accepted tradition that HaMakom used during the telling of Abraham, Isaac and Jacob more often associate events with Mount Moriah including Shalem, akeida, BeitEl and Luz.
In the text of 2 Kings 23:4-5 Yoshiahu removed objects of idolatry from the temple, from the high places surrounding the temple and regions in Yehuda, which he burned in the Kidron valley (in Jerusalem) before depositing the ashes at BeitEl (in Jerusalem). His eradication of idolatrous objects continued in and around Jerusalem until 23:14. Then, at 23:15 - “And also the altar that was at BethEl…” in Shomron, of Yerovam, “also that altar” he destroyed. There must have been many altars destroyed in the purge, but at Yerovams BethEl the prophecy of the man of God comes true.
Three hundred years before the man of God incident, before the book of Kings toward the end of Joshua’s reign Judges 1:8-15 briefly states Judah conquered Jerusalem, 1:20-21 states Benjamin did not drive out the Jebusites who lived in Jerusalem and 1:22-26 declares the house of Joseph smote Beit El, which was Luz. Therefore, Judges declares a northern (Benjamin) and southern (Judah) Jerusalem (since the city ran in a north south direction) - this is not controversial. However that Joseph smote BeitEl, which was Luz contradicts Judah conquering the southern section of Mount Moriah synonymous with Jerusalem at the time. This may be the first hint of competition between Joseph and Judah over the location of the temple Solomon would eventually build.
2 Kings 23:4-5 may be the only reference to BeitEl that associate its location with clarity. It leaves little ambiguity about its proximity to Jerusalem and the Kidron valley and is directly supported by archaeology discovered in the area. The BeitEl of Jacob and the Bethel of Yerovam are different places that are deeply convoluted by competition and grievance that have long distorted facts. Perhaps that time is coming to an end.